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The crime in similarly has its origins years before in India, and its victims also turn out to have brought their doom upon themselves. Rodger Baskerville, the father of Stapleton the naturalist, who perpetrated the hoax in The Hound of the Baskervilles, had fled to South America before his son was born.
The Holmes novels also exhibit Doyle’s characteristic xenophobia.
With the possible exception of Moriarty, who, after all, is an international rather than an English criminal, the villains Holmes contends with frequently are foreigners or else the crimes he deals with have their origins in foreign or distant events.
Departing from his usual historical accuracy, Doyle presents the Germans as the worst foes of the English, reflecting his own late-Victorian perspective.
Alleyne and his friend are mercenaries who live by their wits, but their fighting, looting, and pillaging are always conducted according to the rules of the chivalric game.
Ruth Timewell, the cloyingly sweet young heroine, depicts the quiet, meek Touie Doyle, who at the time the novel was written represented her husband’s ideal of womanhood.
In spite of the critical acclaim received when it was originally published, few people would consider it the stirring tale of adventure that its author did, although parts of it, especially the description of the climactic Battle of Sedgmoor and the portrait of the evil Judge Jeffreys, retain some interest for the modern reader.
Indeed, it was its “mode of speech” that caused both Blackwoods and Bentley, Ltd.
to reject the novel; this same period diction makes the novel extremely slow going for the modern reader.
Arthur Conan Doyle’s ( – 7 July 1930) epitaph “STEEL TRUE/BLADE STRAIGHT” can also serve as an introduction to the themes of his novels, both those that feature actual medieval settings and those that center on Sherlock Holmes.
Doyle’s central character is always the knight on a quest, living and battling according to chivalric ideals.